The results of the Enko-bashi Bridge restoration project will be unveiled on Monday, March 28.
When the short bridge in Matoba-cho which crosses the Enko-gawa River in front of Hiroshima Station was originally built in 1926, it had distinctive plinths topped by eagles made of bronze perched on globes. Wrought iron railings featured ornamental monkeys grasping peaches. During WWII, however, the metal was harvested for use in the war effort and replaced with concrete.
A local citizen’s group had been working to restore the bridge to its former glory since 2008, raising money, calling for information as to the original appearance of the bridge and asking Hiroshima City University to produce a computer model of the bridge in its original form.
Hiroshima City government took on the project of restoring the entire bridge as part of its commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the A-bombing.
The four bronze eagles, each weighing 260kg and with a wingspan of 1.4m where placed on the 5m tall plinths earlier this month and their bridge will be reopened on Saturday, March 28 at a ceremony starting at 2pm. The finishing touches have been being added throughout this week.
Following the opening ceremony on Monday, March 28 there will be a parade which will try to replicate the original 1926 opening ceremony with period dress, dancing lions and omikoshi shrines starting at 2:30pm. The bridge will be open to the public from 3:15pm. There will a bunch of different events, riverside cafes and stalls in the area until 8pm, including a countdown at dusk to the lighting of the bridge’s lanterns. With the forecast for the reasonable weather and the sakura in bloom, it should be a lovely afternoon.
It’s great to see a bit of history being preserved in an area that is being taken over by sky scraping electronics stores.